Pasadena Rugby Football Club

Est. 1971

Holidays From the Heart

CHLA’S Shining Example of Family-Centered Care

Having a chronically ill child has a tremendous impact emotionally and financially on the entire family. The Holidays From the Heart Program evolved as an acknowledgement of this fact and makes the holiday season special by embracing each member of the family. The program began in 1993 with sponsorship of 2 families. By 2009, the Program had expanded to 450 families.

How are the families chosen?

  • Our social workers work with families whose children come to Children’s Hospital for their health care needs. Many of the children have life-threatening and/or chronic medical problems.
  • For the Holidays From The Heart Program, social workers identify families who are financially unable to provide for themselves and their children during the holiday season and invite them to participate in this program.

What size families are available for sponsorship?

  • Our families are defined as “those individuals living in the same home.” This allows Mom and Dad to receive something, as well as any full-time occupants such as Grandmother or “adopted” cousins.
  • Families come in all sizes, from a caregiver and child, to extended families with many relatives living in the primary home.

Who are the sponsors?

  • Anyone can sponsor a family. This program began its focus with divisions and work areas at CHLA, but has rapidly spread by word-of-mouth to the community.
  • Divisions, departments, and work areas at CHLA sponsor families.
  • Individual employees and their families are sponsors.
  • Outside organizations and individuals are sponsors.

May we sponsor more than one family?

  • Yes!!! Some departments/companies sponsor two or more small families instead of one large family. Others sponsor as many as 20 or more families.

Does the program have any suggestions about what to get for our families?

  • The family checklist provides you with the names, gender, age, size and needs for each family you sponsor.
  • The majority of families request warm clothing for the children. (For health/safety reasons only NEW items.)
  • Please do not feel obligated to fulfill all items listed. Any gift you give will be most appreciated.
  • Gift certificates to local grocery stores are always a welcome gift. (Please keep in mind that many of our families do not have refrigerators or stoves.)

May I support the program by writing a check?

  • YES! Your check is tax-deductible and 100% will go toward sponsoring these families. Volunteer shoppers will fulfill the needs checklists with your donation.
  • Make your check out to CHLA with a notation of “Holidays From the Heart Program” in the lower left-hand corner and send c/o Rosalind Grushkin, Holidays From The Heart, mailstop #54.
  • Funding from this program continues to help our families throughout the remainder of the year by providing essentials such as grocery and gas gift cards, school clothing and supplies, and baby basics (cribs and strollers).

How do the gifts reach the families?

  • There are several options. If sponsors deliver their gifts to CHLA , the families come later to pick up the gifts.
  • If agreeable to the sponsored family, arrangements are made for the sponsor to meet the family here at CHLA or for sponsors or volunteers to deliver the gifts to the family’s home.
  • In some cases volunteers deliver the gifts to the family’s home

This information is intended to help you enjoy your participation in the Holidays From The Heart Program. If you have any further questions, please contact Rosalind Grushkin at (323) 361-4930 or by e-mail at rgrushkin@chla.usc.edu.


Holidays From The Heart Sponsor Guidelines

Thank you for participating in the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles Holidays From The Heart Program. You will receive paperwork listing the names of all people in the family, their sizes, and suggestions of their needs/wishes. Also written is the name of your Coordinator…this is your volunteer liaison who will answer any questions you might have about your family. This Coordinator will also help coordinate the drop-off of your gifts and the pick-up by the family.

We are suggesting that between $75 – $150 be spent on each family member. Also, we recommend that each child in the family receive approximately the same number of gifts.

  • No used items (clothes, household goods, electronics).
  • No food…. Please provide grocery store gift certificates instead.
  • No cash…. Again, please provide gift certificates in lieu of cash.

Our Holidays From The Heart Program’s “North Pole” houses gifts for literally hundreds of people, and we use the patient’s name to stay organized. Please, please label each wrapped gift with both the family name, which is the first & last name of the patient, as well as the name of the recipient. (Example: “Chris Smith Family, For: Paula Smith”)

For many families, this will be the only holiday that they receive gifts, and for some of our patients, this will be their last holiday season. For this reason, we ask that you contact your Coordinator if you run into any difficulties with this responsibility; the Holidays from the Heart Program will happily assist.

Again, thank you SO much.

Deadline for 2014 program drop-off to come.


Thank You Letter

Read a Thank You Letter from one of the families sponsored by the Holidays From the Heart Program, 2011.